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Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well.

Posted By: Ricardo

Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/10/11 10:00 PM

I have been sailing a Hobie 18 for about 20 years, for fun and competetitively. In an effort to be more equal with a local buddy on an Inter 17 I bought a used Nacra 5.5 UNI (1997 model in really nice shape). He an I have traveled together and raced with and against each other for almost that whole 20 year stretch.

I figured out how to put the boat together and mostly what goes where and how stuff works, resewed the tramp, replaced some lines, the boat is very light and fast, but I need some help with sailing it well or at least better than I am now.

First, where should the traveler on the main sail go? This boomless thing is very different to me. Minor changes in the position change the shape of the sail a lot, I need some advice. Rotator, on the 18 we can limit it on this I can over and under rotate it, do the lines cross under the mast or is it something I change on every tack? How critical is it?

The boat came with a roller furling Hooter from Calvert sails on a technofiber pole is great but I appear not to be able to go anywhere near deep enough to keep pace with the I 17 off the wind, he has the I 17 spinaker. How far do I travel the main out? How much do I treat it like a jib or is it a down wind or reaching sail only?

I can go to weather and tack just fine, or at least I can keep up with my buddy, the boat feels OK but not it also feels like I am leaving something on the water.

It feel like I am on the very steep part of the learning curve and could use a little help.

Last, the rudder system SUCKS, is there any kind of retro fit set up for this thing. The rope down and bungee up (some of the time) is just plain awful. Has anyone put the newer rudder system on the older boat?

Been a cat sailor magazine subscriber for a long time but this is my first post on the forum. Thanks in advance, Ricardo.
Posted By: Jake

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/10/11 10:43 PM

Originally Posted by Ricardo
I have been sailing a Hobie 18 for about 20 years, for fun and competetitively. In an effort to be more equal with a local buddy on an Inter 17 I bought a used Nacra 5.5 UNI (1997 model in really nice shape). He an I have traveled together and raced with and against each other for almost that whole 20 year stretch.

I figured out how to put the boat together and mostly what goes where and how stuff works, resewed the tramp, replaced some lines, the boat is very light and fast, but I need some help with sailing it well or at least better than I am now.

First, where should the traveler on the main sail go? This boomless thing is very different to me. Minor changes in the position change the shape of the sail a lot, I need some advice. Rotator, on the 18 we can limit it on this I can over and under rotate it, do the lines cross under the mast or is it something I change on every tack? How critical is it?

The boat came with a roller furling Hooter from Calvert sails on a technofiber pole is great but I appear not to be able to go anywhere near deep enough to keep pace with the I 17 off the wind, he has the I 17 spinaker. How far do I travel the main out? How much do I treat it like a jib or is it a down wind or reaching sail only?

I can go to weather and tack just fine, or at least I can keep up with my buddy, the boat feels OK but not it also feels like I am leaving something on the water.

It feel like I am on the very steep part of the learning curve and could use a little help.

Last, the rudder system SUCKS, is there any kind of retro fit set up for this thing. The rope down and bungee up (some of the time) is just plain awful. Has anyone put the newer rudder system on the older boat?

Been a cat sailor magazine subscriber for a long time but this is my first post on the forum. Thanks in advance, Ricardo.


Ricardo,

I can possibly provide some insight for some of your questions. The mainsail traveler should normally be run forward almost all the way for upwind sailing. Sheet VERY HARD to get the boat to sail well to weather. The boomless rig is tricky to sail well.

You need the positive rotator on this boat because you don't have a boom. Most boats with booms have the sheet blocks at a slight reward angle so that when they sheet in, the boom pushes forward on the mast - causing it to rotate. Without the boom, you really need to positively rotate the mast to get it in proper position. The rotation isn't super critical but it is important for performance. Upwind, have the mast pointing at the middle of the daggerboard in moderate conditions. In very windy conditions, have the mast pointing at the end of the rear beam. And remember - sheet HARD.

The hooter should be for downwind and deep reaching only unless the wind is exceptionally light. If the wind is very light, you may be able to sail the hooter upwind. It's going to be a little tough to sail the Hooter as fast and deep as a soft spinnaker unless the wind is up. Make sure you have tale tales on the hooter and keep it trimmed to the apparent wind. Your mainsail should be sheeted almost in the upwind condition with the hooter - but sheeted a little more softly and with the sheet traveler moved to the middle or back 1/3rd of the traveler distance. Work the apparent wind - get the boat accelerated and then slightly bare away as the boat powers up - try to balance speed and depth with the angle you steer the boat.

"leaving something in the water"...is probably because you are not sheeted hard enough. Sheet hard (I think I mentioned this).

Rudder system. I'm rare in this opinion - but that is one of my favorite rudder systems. A couple of things - make sure the up-bunjies are tight. Use clear vinyl tubing to protect them and keep them from chaffing. For the down-lines, use the cheap polyester line you can get at Lowe's or Home depot (1/4" white with a red tracer). That cheap line is very knobby and grips very well in the v-jam cleats. If all else fails, take some electrical tape with you and tape the line, cleat, and the fiberglass clamp around the rudder arm after you put the rudders down...and be conscious about the time it will require to undo them when coming to the beach.
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/11/11 01:13 AM

Both the comments on the traveler and rotator make sense. With the 18 the mast rotates pretty well with any kind of out haul tension. The more I moved the sail traveler forward the flatter the sail got which also made sense as it was too full and always seemed to be stalling somewhere. The rotater being positive will definitely be needed with the car forward. Sheeting is not a problem. I am a big guy and have a lot of upper body strength, I have a tendency to over sheet the 18 so I went to 6 from 7 to 1 on it, the 5.5 has 8 to 1 and I can crank it down no problem.

How far do I put the main traveler on the cross bar out with the hooter? I know I have to keep the main sheeted as it becomes the back stay for the head sail but the rest if all very new to me. Thanks for the fast reply. Richard.
Posted By: davefarmer

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/11/11 05:42 AM

I have a hooter/screecher on Flight Risk, and when all three sails are drawing, my main is travelled out less than a quarter of the distance between centered and fully out. The jib is trimmed last, to get it's telltales flowing, and it's travelled out fully and sheeted fairly flat(Oh, I missed that you're uni, disregard). I use the screecher from about 90 degrees to 120 true wind direction, it's not very efficient deeper, and it's not sheeted inboard enough to go to weather with(It's a very wide boat). Snuffable soft spins run much deeper. On my boat it's got a very narrow power window between collapsing and stalling, so I'm intensely focussing on reading the lower telltales on the screecher to keep it powered up. I tend to set the sails and drive to them, which is a gas! When I drive well, it's an awesome ride!
Furl early when wind strength rises. If furled while flogging it can roll up ugly(hard on the sail fabric), or too tightly, and you run out of furling line(at least on mine).
I love this sail, but I rarely have a destination, so I can reach about looking for max boatspeed. If you need to go downwind a lot, a spin is faster.
Dave
Posted By: catman

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/11/11 12:24 PM

I would add a boom to it. It resolves the main problems.
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/11/11 04:11 PM

No way to add a boom to the sail the way it is cut. The bottom of the main goes almost to the base of the mast. I do not want to modify a perfectly good boat, I want to learn to sail it better. Thanks, Richard.
Posted By: TEAMVMG

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/12/11 02:37 PM

Boomless sails are great, but you need to put some thought into settings [which is what you ARE doing]

Once you find an 'average' position for the traveller, you will move it forward a tad as you get over powered to let the leech twist off a bit and increase tension on the foot which will,in turn, derotate the mast a bit.
When you are looking for more power, let the traveller back a bit to make the leech more 'hooky' and take tension off of the foot to let the mast over-rotate.
As jake says - sheet like hell.
When I sailed boomless [6.0] and before crews union allowed them to sheet, I jammed the tiller between my aft foot and back beam so that I had both hand on the sheet for a moment.
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/12/11 03:31 PM

I will move the car forward some and what it does. Every time I sail it I move it more foward and it helps the shape. It is just odd to feel so lost after 20 years on cats.

Any Ideas on the rudder fiasco? There has to be something better. Ricardo.
Posted By: h17racer

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/12/11 06:15 PM

Ricardo, lot's of questions, I'll see what I can help you with. I've sailing a 5.5 Uni for 7 years now after spending many earlier years on a variety of Hobie Cats. The Uni is a great boat once you get it dialed in and then learn all the quirks of sailing with a single sail. Rick White's book on Cat sailing has an entire chapter dedicated to Uni's.

1. Mast...mine is carbon and very tunable with a combo of mast rake, spreader rake and wire tension. I prebend my mast to fit the luff curve of the sail and then leave it.

2. Rotator...I only force rotation downwind, approx. 90-100 degrees. Upwind, I only pull rotation in/out via the mainsail traveler. In extremely light air I will sometimes set the rotator upwind to force the sail shape I want.

3. Mainsail traveler....I started at the centerpoint of the traveler and then move in/out based upon wind conditions. Heavier winds further forward, lighter winds back from centerpoint. I indexed 1" increments on either side of the centerpoint and adjust from there.

4. Downhaul....add the incremented Hobie downhaul stickers on either side of your mast and index to a point on your sail for quick reference. I indexed mine to the downhaul grommet on the sail. Downhaul does have a big effect on a Uni's sail performance as you have no jib to help you along. Then, work on recording each of your optimum wind condition settings. Upwind, the Uni enjoys downhaul with the EP sails.

4. Rudder system....is just fine and yours probably needs to be rehabbed. I use 3mm nostretch yacht line with aluminum cleats. They never move under load. If your bungee is old/stretched, replace it. I threw away the silly clear tube and instead triple-loop and tie a 3mm yacht line around the bungee at the rudder and it works fine. If you do not have an adjustable crossbar, invest in one.

5. The Uni likes to be sailed on its toes...weight forward. Upwind, I am mostly at or ahead of the front crossbar. Downwind, pretty much the same until it starts blowing, then I start moving back. At 10mph and above a Uni can perform very well downwind.

6. You didn't mention sailshape and battens. I tossed the wimpy sandwich battens and replaced with tubular. Gives me much better sail shape performance and control.

7. Hobie's seem to like tons of mainsheet tension upwind. Break that habit as Uni's do not. Oversheet the main at any time and you will go slow.

8. Finally, the Uni is not a jib boat so there is a definite learning curve if you came off of TheMightyHobie18's.

Anyway, hope the above helps.

Sail fast, Tom G
Uni 5.5
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/12/11 06:48 PM

Thanks a bunch Tom, all of this makes sense. Any wisdom on the hooter? Thanks again, Richard.
Posted By: h17racer

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/12/11 09:58 PM

I've looked at adding spins and hooters but instead decided to concentrate on racing the shortest course and to my Portsmouth rating and then let the adjusted scores tell me how I am doing. So far, I've been well satisfied with my progress in the fleet.

I don't know if you race true Portsmouth or are just drag racing around a lake with your buds. Keep in mind, the Uni takes a ratings hit with a hooter which you may consider unrealistic when compared to what you are racing against.

Sail fast, Tom G
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/13/11 02:08 AM

The reason I got it was the buddy with the I-17 with a spinaker. It is a fast boat and the hooter is the same hit as the spinaker but does not go as well down wind. But part of that is my lack of experience with it. So far it is fun and fast and being competitive is only part of the game. Richard.
Posted By: h17racer

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/13/11 02:38 AM

Have fun then....T
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/13/11 12:43 PM

I may come back an pick your brain some on sailing the boat. Thanks for the help, Ricardo.
Posted By: GeoffS

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/14/11 01:17 AM

Originally Posted by Ricardo
...but I appear not to be able to go anywhere near deep enough to keep pace with the I 17 off the wind, he has the I 17 spinaker...


I used to have an I-17R/F-17. That boat is really easy to sail fast downwind. Your buddy is going to be a tough nut to crack downwind.
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/14/11 07:15 PM

The fact that it is a fas boat AND he is on his 6th year with it. And works 3 days a week (12 hour shifts) so he has a lot more tiller time than I do. Tough nut for sure. Thanks to all for the info. Ricardo.
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/29/11 02:38 PM

Any suggestions on the rudders. I have the newer styly on my hobie 18 and just love the way they work. I can release them and keep them down when coming to shore. The rope down is not a big deal but the bungee up blows. I have seen the other rope up/down and the like but geez there has to be something better. Are the newer sytle castings like on the I-17 retro fit possible, aside from the expense.

Any other hooter help, from anyone with a hooter on any boat?

Again, thanks in advance. Cheers Ricardo.
Posted By: erice

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/29/11 09:06 PM

hooters have to be really flat to furl

that means they are a reaching sail more than a downwind sail

in light winds, <5knots, you can often creep a few degrees up wind with them, angles about 85 - 120 degrees off the wind

in medium winds, 5-10knots, they run best about 100-120 degrees off the wind

in strong winds, 10?-15knots, about 120-160degrees off the wind

if soloing with 3 sails you generally cleat off the main and jib in pretty much their reaching positions and then play the hooter and steering with each hand

be ready to steer down hard and release the hooter sheet once the leeward bow looks to bury
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/31/11 03:23 PM

Only soloing 2 sails the UNI main and the hooter. Are you describing apparent wind. I have never gone past 90 apparent and it appears the hooter will not go that deep. Just trying to clarify the comments.

Sailed it again yesterday, I can go to weather with the I-17 and we are very close. Had nice breeze, able to trap some and I am 240 lbs. Once we get past the windward mark I travel out and loosen the main a little to a beam broad reach and unfurl the hooter, the boat goes well but it can not go as deep as the I-17 with the launching kite. The boat stalls when I go deeper than about 80 degrees apparent.

Thanks for the insight, lots to learn still. Ricardo.
Posted By: erice

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 07/31/11 11:59 PM

because the spinnaker on the I-17 comes out of a bag, it doesn't have to be cut very flat

it will have much more curvature and so always be able to sail deeper than a roller furling sail

you just don't have the right sail to sail as deep as the other boat

however in light winds and highish angles you should be able to outsail the I-17 on tight reaches

the last tornado sailing olympics had this contrast when the usa team, expecting very light winds, used a very flat reacher hoping to outpace the other boats with deeper cut spins

in the event the wind blew hard and the usa team could not compete downwind with any of the other teams and ended up doing very poorly
Posted By: Jake

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 08/01/11 02:50 AM

Originally Posted by erice

the last tornado sailing olympics had this contrast when the usa team, expecting very light winds, used a very flat reacher hoping to outpace the other boats with deeper cut spins



To clarify that...they were actually hoping to be able to sail the chupacabra upwind as well as down in the light air. Even in light air, they expected to not be very fast downwind with that flat sail. However, they believed that they would gain more than enough distance upwind to live with losing a little time downwind.
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 08/04/11 01:47 PM

Thanks for the help, I do understand the flat of the sail being different, what I am looking for is advice on angles and how to sail the boat as well as I can. Thanks for all the help. Ricardo.
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 01/30/12 08:52 PM

Switching to a soft spinnaker, gave up on the Hooter in this application. It is a nice peice but not effectived going down wind. It is much more of a reacher than a down wind sail. Thanks again, Ricardo.
Posted By: RickWhite

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 02/02/12 09:06 PM

When we first discovered them, I was able to pull away from two very good sailors on same boats with full spins. You just have to stop watching them and sail your own race. They will go deeper, you go for the speed.
Ala the F18 v. N20 spins
RIck
Posted By: Walls619

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 02/06/12 05:22 AM

Do these same principles apply to a 5.5 sl? Am absorbing all 5.5 info keep it coming.Thanks

wallzie
5.5 sl (muf-dvr)
Posted By: erice

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 02/06/12 11:53 AM

which principles?

most of the stuff mention here has been about furling hooters vs asymmetrical chutes that are cut too deep for furling

the 5.5sl notmally only has a jib

making the more numerous nacra 5.2 more comparable
Posted By: Ricardo

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 02/07/12 04:33 PM

Thanks Rick for the input, spent my honeymoon at your place. The courses are short and the hooter can be fast but the sail area I am giving up is killing me. Part of the deal is I get the same number hit by our scoring if I have the soft (larger) or the hooter (smaller) sail. In the end I will have both and be able to rig either on any given day. Cheers Ricardo.
Posted By: RickWhite

Re: Help with 5.5 UNI and hooter, how to make it go well. - 02/10/12 03:41 PM

I remember when that hit for both sails was put in place. I believe it was Jamie Diamond doing US Sailing Portsmouth at the time and he was from Ohio and raced against me quite a bit. I had too much success with the Hooter, so they made it the same as a much larger sail. Still managed to kick some serious butt with it, nonetheless.
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